These sweat-wicking, quick-drying, running-specific leggings from Lululemon are undoubtedly the best on the market. After testing hundreds of leggings over the past seven years, nothing quite compares to Lululemon’s fast and free. With two side drop-in pockets to fit your phone, plus five waistband pockets, you can stash your tech and mid-run snacks with ease – and they never fall down, thanks to their tight waistband and continuous drawcord. Lightweight and cool to the touch, they’re the first pair we reach for on race day, due to their unparalleled comfort.
Whether you’re training for a spring marathon or simply heading out for a little plod around the park, finding the perfect pair of running leggings is essential. Why? Because, often, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference to runners. In the middle of winter, a decent pair of running leggings that doesn’t fall down or chafe can sometimes mean the difference between getting a run done and staying at home on the sofa.
But running leggings aren’t just for winter – they’re a crucial part of a year-round workout wardrobe. So, before you rush out to buy some winter-proof running leggings (or even reflective running leggings), you need to know what you’re looking for – as, while there are many great options out there, there are also some pretty awful ones, too.
We can’t remember how many times we’ve been on a run and had to stop halfway round to yank up our leggings when they’ve started sagging in the crotch area – not cool. The perfect pair of running leggings should be comfortable yet compressive and sleek. They should sit either on your waist or just above your hips and not budge. And they should be able to handle everyday training, even in slightly warmer temperatures.
Perhaps it goes without saying but any workout kit – including your running leggings – should also be sweat-wicking, breathable and dry in a flash. Storage space is a no-brainer too, so do look out for running leggings with hidden zip pockets for keys or drop-in pockets for phones. If a pair of running leggings doesn’t have a pocket, disregard it and move on. You’ll thank us later.
With the above criteria in mind, we’ve made it our personal mission to sweat test running leggings that stay up, regulate our body temperature and include pockets for any mid-run essentials.
How we tested
We tested the following running leggings during tempo runs and interval sessions, easy chatty runs, Parkruns and Sunday long runs. We looked at how high the waistbands were, what the compression was like (note: running leggings should be tight!), the breathability of the fabric, and how good they were at wicking away sweat. Most are designed to finish just above your ankle but, of course, if you’re on the taller (or shorter) side, do look out for leggings with different leg length options.
So, whether you’ve just started to give running a go (welcome to the club!) or you’re a seasoned marathoner, here are our favourite running leggings for 2023.
The best running leggings for women 2023 are:
- Best overall – Lululemon fast and free high-rise tight 25in: £108, Lululemon.co.uk
- Best pattered running leggings – Sweaty Betty power 7/8 gym leggings: £80, Sweatybetty.com
- Best winter running leggings – Lorna Jane Amy winter thermal phone pocket tech leggings: £80, Lornajane.co.uk
- Best thermal running leggings – Sweaty Betty therma boost running leggings: £100, Sweatybetty.com
- Best sustainable running leggings – Tala formtech side-pocket running legging: £52, Wearetala.com
- Best running leggings with pockets – New Balance impact run women’s running tights: £55, Newbalance.co.uk
- Best training running leggings – Tracksmith session tights: £100, Tracksmith.com
- Best reflective running leggings – Sweaty Betty power reflective gym leggings: £90, Sweatybetty.com
- Best leggings for tummy support – Lucas Hugh axis leggings: £170, Lucashugh.com
- Best affordable running leggings – Fabletics anywhere motion365 high-waisted leggings: two for £24, Fabletics.co.uk
- Best cropped running leggings – Maaree cult cropped leggings: £65, Maaree.com
- Best high-waisted running leggings – On Running active tights: £95, On-running.com
- Best period-proof running leggings – Adidas Techfit period-proof 7/8 leggings: £33, Adidas.co.uk
- Best lightweight running leggings – Lululemon base pace high-rise running tight 25in: £88, Lululemon.co.uk
- Best new running leggings – Bandit softspeed cold-weather run tight: £80, Banditrunning.com